Klaasen and Gawlas Impress On Day One In Stuttgart
The European Tour returned on Friday as the Interwetten European Darts Grand Prix kicked off in Stuttgart. 15 matches were played on the opening day of action following Gerwyn Price’s withdrawal, Eddie Lovely the beneficiary of a bye into round two.
Adam Gawlas continued his good form from last weekend’s Gambrinus Czech Darts Open as he defeated Ryan Joyce 6-3. The first six legs were shared before Gawlas won three on the spin to complete the win, finishing with an average of 100. His victory earns him a second round clash with Ryan Searle, a man he defeated last weekend.
Home hopes for the session rested on the shoulders of qualifier Lukas Wenig. These hopes were comprehensively dashed however as Joe Murnan handed out a 6-0 thrashing in the final game of the session, hitting five maximums in the process. As a result, Murnan faces Dimitri van den Bergh on Saturday.
Lukeman Looking Good
Martin Lukeman has already reached a European Tour final this season and his quest to go one better started well. He finished with 60% on doubles and averaged 97 as he beat Swiss player Stefan Bellmont 6-3. He now faces Michael van Gerwen in a mouth-watering second round tie.
The closest tie of the afternoon saw Madars Razma win a last leg shootout against Niels Zonneveld to set up a clash with home favourite Martin Schindler on Saturday night.
Andrew Gilding comfortably beat John Michael 6-1 and faces defending champion Jose de Sousa next. Mickey Mansell dispatched of Radek Szaganski by the same scoreline to set up a showdown with Damon Heta while Ryan Miekle hit three maximums and averaged close to 94 as he beat Ron Meulenkamp. He faces last weekend’s Czech Open champion Luke Humphries in round two.
Jelle Klaasen made a successful return to European Tour action as he took advantage of a below par Callan Rydz to make it through to round two. Klaasen made it through to the main draw as an associate member qualifier and made the most of his opportunity, averaging nearly 96 to seal a 6-4 win. He faces reigning European Champion Rob Cross next.
A repeat of the UK Open final awaits on Saturday after Danny Noppert beat Karel Sedlacek 6-3. ‘Noppy’ took the opening leg and it was a lead he never surrendered, sealing the win with a 15 darter.
There was more disappointment for the home contingent as both Gabriel Clemens and Dragutin Horvat were beaten. Clemens lost out to Johan Engstrom in a last leg decider while Horvat was beaten by Nathan Rafferty, both victors gaining their first win on the European Tour in the process. Engstrom will face Peter Wright in the second round while Rafferty plays Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Rodriguez Survives Double Trouble
Rowby-John Rodriguez missed ten match darts before finally getting over the line in the last leg against Jim Williams. The Austrian World Cup star had opportunities to seal victory in legs nine and ten but finally made it count when it mattered most to set up a clash with Thursday evening’s Premier League winner Joe Cullen in round two.
Another man to survive a match dart was Kim Huybrechts as he overcome Stephen Bunting in another last leg shootout. Neither player was at their best throughout the contest but the Belgian ground out the win to set up a clash with Krzysztof Ratajski on Saturday.
Two time world champion Adrian Lewis is into round two, coming back from 5-2 behind to beat Luke Woodhouse. He faces Jonny Clayton in what could be a Saturday evening classic.
Danny Jansen won through an all Dutch clash against Martijn Kleermaker to set up a tie with Brendan Dolan. Kleermaker had chances but was made to pay for just an 11% success rate on the outer ring.
2022 Interwetten European Darts Grand Prix
Friday May 20
Andrew Gilding 6-1 John Michael
Madars Razma 6-5 Niels Zonneveld
Adam Gawlas 6-3 Ryan Joyce
Mickey Mansell 6-1 Radek Szaganski
Martin Lukeman 6-3 Stefan Bellmont
Ryan Meikle 6-2 Ron Meulenkamp
Joe Murnan 6-0 Lukas Wenig
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Callan Rydz
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Jim Williams
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Danny Jansen 6-1 Martijn Kleermaker
Nathan Rafferty 6-3 Dragutin Horvat
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Johan Engstrom 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
Danny Noppert 6-3 Karel Sedlacek
Bye: Eddie Lovely
Saturday May 21
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Damon Heta v Mickey Mansell
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Joe Murnan
Ryan Searle v Adam Gawlas
Daryl Gurney v Eddie Lovely
Jose de Sousa v Andrew Gilding
Krzysztof Ratajski v Kim Huybrechts
Brendan Dolan v Danny Jansen
Rob Cross v Jelle Klaasen
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Joe Cullen v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Luke Humphries v Ryan Meikle
Jonny Clayton v Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen v Martin Lukeman
Martin Schindler v Madars Razma
Peter Wright v Johan Engstrom
Michael Smith v Danny Noppert
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Nathan Rafferty